Azerbaijan is planning to acquire several Israeli Iron Dome air defense system batteries, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.
The Iron Dome, manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to 70 kilometers (43 miles).
The impending acquisition was announced ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s scheduled December visit to Azerbaijan. The prime minister is also scheduled to visit Kazakhstan next month.
Located in the southern Caucasus Mountains, Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea to the east, Georgia and Russia to the north, Iran to the south, and Armenia to the west. In recent years, several top Israeli officials—including former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and current Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman—have visited Azerbaijan, which has expressed interest in Israel’s air defense systems. On his upcoming visit, Netanyahu will seek to further bolster ties with the Shi’a Muslim-majority nation.